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The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight Hardcover – January 2, 2018
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"Dr. Valter Longo is one of the world’s leading researchers on longevity, and in this book he’s done an exemplary job of consolidating the most current strategies into easy to understand principles. In particular, his research on fasting is one of the most fascinating new strategies to improve health and longevity."
—Joseph Mercola, DO, Founder of Mercola.com, the most visited natural health site on the internet
"Valter Longo is a terrific scientist who writes beautifully and, this book is the culmination of many years of work, the product of a real passion to understand the underlying mechanisms behind diet, disease and longevity. What he has already shown through his lab work, and what his human studies are making clear, is that it is possible, through the right diet, to turn back the clock, put ourselves on the road to good health. I hope this book is as widely read as it deserves to be."
—Dr Michael Mosley, BBC science journalist and author of The Fast Diet
"Dr. Longo has put together a flawless formula for a daily diet and periodic fasting that optimizes the newest and best data available for a healthy brain, body and mind. Safe to say there is probably none better!"
—Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD, Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, and author of the New York Times bestseller Super Brain
"There is an ever-increasing recognition that diet plays a critical role in lifespan and healthspan. Valter Longo is a pioneer in advancing research in this field. In the Longevity Diet he translates his laboratory expertise into user-friendly tips and tools for improving how we eat, how we age, and how we live."
– Pinchas Cohen, M.D., Dean, University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
"The health benefits associated with periodic fasting are as striking as they are surprising. Here, Dr. Valter Longo, a recognized leader in the field, embarks on an odyssey through the major chronic diseases that are currently plaguing humanity and shows that they are all modifiable by diets that mimic the fasted state."
– Brian Kennedy, Director of the Centre for Healthy Ageing and Professor in Biochemistry and Physiology, National University Singapore
About the Author
Valter Longo is the director of the Longevity Institute at USC in Los Angeles, and of the Program on Longevity and Cancer at IFOM (Molecular Oncology FIRC Institute) in Milan. His studies focus on the fundamental mechanisms of aging in simple organisms and mice and on how they can be translated to humans. Dr. Longo received the 2010 Nathan Shock Lecture Award from the National Institute on Aging (NIA/NIH) and the 2013 Vincent Cristofalo "Rising Star" Award in Aging Research from the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR).
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By studying the effects of starvation on yeast, Longo discovered that sugar accelerates aging and premature death. He also found that limiting protein intake providing profound metabolic benefits and as a result he promotes radically reduced protein consumption. Longo recommends limiting protein to 0.31 to 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For most, that would mean cutting down their protein consumption by about two-thirds. If you weigh 150 pounds, you’d need just 50 grams of protein a day.
If you eat excessive protein then your regenerative potential is placed on hold. Once you remove these blocks, your stem cells are turned on, and then, during the refeeding phase, your body undergoes a major regeneration and rejuvenation phase. This is in part why intermittent fasting or fasting is so much better than chronic calorie restriction. The “magic” actually happens during the refeeding phase, after you’ve gone through a period of starvation.
If you just cut calories but never enter refeeding, you miss the opportunity to rebuild your body. So, while starvation triggers the cleanout process of autophagy and activates stem cells, refeeding triggers rebuilding, and for optimal health, you really need both.
It is Longo’s research that finally convinced me that multi-day water fasting is one of the most powerful metabolic interventions out there. There's really nothing that comes close, and the reason for this is because it switches your cells to a protected “anti-aging mode.” It promotes autophagy and replaces cell components with newly generated functional ones, thanks to the activation of stem cells. I now do a five-day water-only fast once a month, and recommend it for most people — as long as you’ve prepared yourself properly first.
A key step that made water fasting easy for me was getting into the habit of intermittently fasting 20 hours a day for at least a month. If you’re on medication, you also need to work with your doctor to ensure safety, as some medications really need to be taken with food and/or can become toxic when your body chemistry normalizes. Those taking hypoglycemic or anti-hypertensive medication are particularly at risk, as they may end up overdosing.
Longo cautions that people who should not water fast or be on the fasting mimicking diet include pregnant women, people who are seriously underweight (have low body mass index) and/or suffer from anorexia, seniors over the age of 70 (unless you’re exceptionally healthy), anyone who is fragile or people with liver or kidney disease. If you have a chronic disease, be sure to work with your doctor and have him or her closely monitor your condition.
One of the strong recommendations in Longo’s book is to actively incorporate the fasting approach if you’re undergoing treatment for cancer. Not only will it radically improve the effectiveness of the cancer therapy, but it will also decrease its side effects. In his book, Longo cites animal research showing the fasting mimicking diet in combination with treadmill exercise resulted in greater maintenance of muscle mass and a decrease in sarcopenia. Interestingly, neither strategy worked on its own.
Longo’s research also shows the fasting reduces inflammation and inflammatory diseases such as dermatitis. Cancers are reduced by nearly 50 percent. Importantly, cancers are also significantly postponed, and many tumors are also benign rather than malignant. Cognition is also improved. In mice that received the fasting mimicking diet twice a month were cognitively doing much better than the mice on the regular diet.
Another area of improvement is your immune system, which undergoes a transformation to a more youthful state. Overall, there’s a reduction in risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, and an improvement in markers for aging. So if you are interested in increasing not only how long you live but the quality of those years then you would be strongly advised to review this book to understand how to best accomplish that with our current understanding of biology.
Edit: I forgot to mention the most important thing, which is that I was able to do a 4 day water fast around my 2nd infusion of taxol. I faster for only 2 days prior to chemo day (I was afraid of getting too run down, and I didn't know what to expect), plus I fasted the day of the infusion and the day after. The first thing that I noticed was that my neuropathy almost totally went away after only 24 hours on the fast! So that neurapathy eased even before I got in the chemo chair. I felt fine after chemo, and pretty ok the day after, and then the day after that (so on my 4th day of fasting), I knew that this method of starving yourself to protect from the toxic effects of chemo actually works. Because I was walking with good balance, in a normal gait, without any limping or feeling like I must walk with the aid of a "walker". That is what happened to me when I had my first taxol infusion, without any fasting. So to me, this was totally proven and I realized this book was coming out within a couple of days, so I ordered multiple copies to share with EVERYONE. Because all proceeds go to charity, and people are being damaged by chemo drugs every day around the world. Patients have the right to know about this!!!! I am so happy and active right now that nobody can believe I just had chemo.
1. Eat vegan (with a little fish once in a while)
- low protein / high (complex) carb
- avoid all animal protein
- avoid saturated and trans fat
- eat what you ancestors ate
2. Restrict you feeding window to 12 hours or less
3. Periodically fast for 5 to 7 days; e.g. monthly
4. Exercise 2.5 hours a week / walk daily
5. Take a mineral & vitamin supp once every 3 days